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Christmas Seals 2013 – plaited Christmas Hearts from the Faroe Islands

Christmas Seals 2013 – plaited Christmas Hearts from the Faroe Islands
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Christmas seals 2013 by Posta Faroe Islands depict plaited Christmas Hearts.

One cannot say with certainty when the Faroese began to knit. An educated guess is that knitting with wool-thread started in 16th – 17th century. However, it is reasonably certain that knitting about the mid-1600s overtook weaving as a profession - and that knitwear was a significant export, especially knitted socks. In the late 1700s the Faroes exported 120,000 pair of knitted socks a year. In the nineteenth century exports of knitted sweaters also became a major issue and was almost as good a revenue as socks.

The tradition of knitting patterns is almost as old as the knitting. The traditional "Boatman's sweater" or "Faroe sweater", which was knitted with yarn from the rough and oily outer-wool, because of its hydrophobic properties, had simple patterns. Sweaters made by the finer inner wool could have more complex patterns, especially those which were knitted for children. Also the open jerseys for the national costume could have very fine patterns, both for the female as well as the male costume.

Today, knitting has got an extra dimension with young Faroese designers. With thorough knowledge of the tradition and the creative human flair for innovation, they have lifted knit art to an even higher level. Faroese knitwear is now exported all over the world, not just as every day clothing, but also as fashion items.

It is also one of the young and promising designers who have made this year's Faroese Christmas seals. Katrin Norgaard Andreasen is a Faroese jewelry designer who lives and works in Randers, Denmark. She has created a number of designs for plaited Christmas Hearts, based on traditional Faroese knitting patterns. Despite the seemingly complicated patterns, the hearts can easily be plaited from the pictures and hung on the Christmas tree as symbols of ancient tradition, the heartwarming spirit of Christmas and the function of the Christmas seals: to raise funds for children and young people in need of love and care.

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